Senator McCain and Gun Control

A friend of mine recently wrote to the senior senator from Arizona regarding his anticipated "reaching out" to the other side on gun control. The senator's response is clearly a form letter, so I am not revealing privileged information by reproducing it here. My response follows.

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Tucson shooting tragedy and its impact on federal gun control legislation. I appreciate hearing from you on this vital issue.

On January 8, 2011, a gunman committed a senseless atrocity by murdering six people and wounding many others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, outside of a grocery store in Tucson. While the legal proceedings are in the early stages, the inhumane and depraved actions of this individual appear to be motivated solely by an extremely disturbed mental state, and not by the influence of any particular political party, agenda, or actor.

Shortly after the shooting, President Obama traveled to Tucson and gave a terrific speech. He movingly mourned and honored the victims of the tragedy, comforted and inspired the country, and encouraged those of us who have the privilege of serving America. I agree with his sentiments, and reiterate his call for us to do better, to behave more courteously and respectfully towards one another, and to make progress towards the ideal that beckons all to humanity: to treat one another as we wish to be treated.

In the wake of the tragedy, many pieces of legislation have been introduced by well-meaning members of Congress in an attempt to prevent future violence. I look forward to being engaged with these members as we continue to debate exigent issues of public safety. While I am an unwavering supporter of second amendment rights, please know that I will seriously consider all reasonable firearms legislation that comes before the Senate for a vote.

Thank you again for writing me. Please feel free to do so on this or any other issue of importance to you.

[signature]

Please Do Not Reply to this Message

I know, Senator, that someone else wrote this for you, but "This is John McCain, and I approved this message," right? You might want to reconsider before sending out letters with observations as inane as this: "the inhumane and depraved actions of this individual appear to be motivated solely by an extremely disturbed mental state, and not by the influence of any particular political party, agenda, or actor."

Loughner was crazy, Senator, but maybe his madness was made worse, inflamed, exacerbated by the crazy left-wing material he steeped himself in. After all, the smart guys are constantly telling us that right-wing speech will cause conservatives to go over the edge; maybe the left-wing hate machine pushed Loughner over the line? When a Timothy McVeigh goes berserk, no one has any trouble drawing a line from the militia movement to his crime, but when a highly educated Islamist like Major Hassan or a schizophrenic leftist like Loughner commits mayhem, gee whiz, it's always a head scratcher.

As for the "terrific speech" given by the president in Tucson, did you listen to it, Senator? I mean, did you do any more than just take in his words? Did you observe his campaign-style delivery, the T shirts, the hooting and hollering of the mob (sorry, crowd)? Terrific to George Soros, maybe, but not to this American.

Then there's this: "While I am an unwavering supporter of second amendment [sic] rights ... " Uh-oh. Whenever I hear a politician start a sentence with "while I am ...," I know a  betrayal will follow. I would translate that sentence into plain English thus: "While paying lip service to the Second Amendment [note the capitals], I will miss no opportunity to reach across the aisle and sell out the base that sent me to Washington."

Finally, Senator, I appreciate the fine, ironic tension between your last paragraph and the injunction at the bottom of your missive: "Thank you again for writing me. Please feel free to do so ... Please Do Not Reply to this Message." I know, I know, the latter is just an IT warning about not replying to this email address. But to this constituent, Senator, the disconnect is emblematic of the relationship between the rulers in this country and your subjects.

In short, Senator, far from being reassured by your letter, I find it unsettling.

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.
A friend of mine recently wrote to the senior senator from Arizona regarding his anticipated "reaching out" to the other side on gun control. The senator's response is clearly a form letter, so I am not revealing privileged information by reproducing it here. My response follows.

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Tucson shooting tragedy and its impact on federal gun control legislation. I appreciate hearing from you on this vital issue.

On January 8, 2011, a gunman committed a senseless atrocity by murdering six people and wounding many others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, outside of a grocery store in Tucson. While the legal proceedings are in the early stages, the inhumane and depraved actions of this individual appear to be motivated solely by an extremely disturbed mental state, and not by the influence of any particular political party, agenda, or actor.

Shortly after the shooting, President Obama traveled to Tucson and gave a terrific speech. He movingly mourned and honored the victims of the tragedy, comforted and inspired the country, and encouraged those of us who have the privilege of serving America. I agree with his sentiments, and reiterate his call for us to do better, to behave more courteously and respectfully towards one another, and to make progress towards the ideal that beckons all to humanity: to treat one another as we wish to be treated.

In the wake of the tragedy, many pieces of legislation have been introduced by well-meaning members of Congress in an attempt to prevent future violence. I look forward to being engaged with these members as we continue to debate exigent issues of public safety. While I am an unwavering supporter of second amendment rights, please know that I will seriously consider all reasonable firearms legislation that comes before the Senate for a vote.

Thank you again for writing me. Please feel free to do so on this or any other issue of importance to you.

[signature]

Please Do Not Reply to this Message

I know, Senator, that someone else wrote this for you, but "This is John McCain, and I approved this message," right? You might want to reconsider before sending out letters with observations as inane as this: "the inhumane and depraved actions of this individual appear to be motivated solely by an extremely disturbed mental state, and not by the influence of any particular political party, agenda, or actor."

Loughner was crazy, Senator, but maybe his madness was made worse, inflamed, exacerbated by the crazy left-wing material he steeped himself in. After all, the smart guys are constantly telling us that right-wing speech will cause conservatives to go over the edge; maybe the left-wing hate machine pushed Loughner over the line? When a Timothy McVeigh goes berserk, no one has any trouble drawing a line from the militia movement to his crime, but when a highly educated Islamist like Major Hassan or a schizophrenic leftist like Loughner commits mayhem, gee whiz, it's always a head scratcher.

As for the "terrific speech" given by the president in Tucson, did you listen to it, Senator? I mean, did you do any more than just take in his words? Did you observe his campaign-style delivery, the T shirts, the hooting and hollering of the mob (sorry, crowd)? Terrific to George Soros, maybe, but not to this American.

Then there's this: "While I am an unwavering supporter of second amendment [sic] rights ... " Uh-oh. Whenever I hear a politician start a sentence with "while I am ...," I know a  betrayal will follow. I would translate that sentence into plain English thus: "While paying lip service to the Second Amendment [note the capitals], I will miss no opportunity to reach across the aisle and sell out the base that sent me to Washington."

Finally, Senator, I appreciate the fine, ironic tension between your last paragraph and the injunction at the bottom of your missive: "Thank you again for writing me. Please feel free to do so ... Please Do Not Reply to this Message." I know, I know, the latter is just an IT warning about not replying to this email address. But to this constituent, Senator, the disconnect is emblematic of the relationship between the rulers in this country and your subjects.

In short, Senator, far from being reassured by your letter, I find it unsettling.

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.

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